It’s that time of every fourth year again — the Winter Olympics start this week from PyeongChang, South Korea. For fans of the human drama of athletic competition, here’s a detailed guide on how to watch the games on TV and online.
If you’ve got one of those old-fangled television machines, you’re golden; NBC is planning more than 175 hours of exclusive live coverage over the 18-day event. Its TV coverage starts at 8 PM ET/5 PT Thursday and wraps with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, February 25.
The network is breaking its programming into three dayparts: Daytime, which is 3-5 PM ET/12-2 PT on weekdays and 3-6 PM ET/12-3 PT on weekends; Primetime, with live coverage starting at 8 PM ET/5 PT nightly and 7 PM ET/4 PT on Sundays; and Primetime Plus, which airs in the late-night window that follows primetime.
NBCUniversal’s cable network also is getting in on the action again this year, with NBCSN planning 369 hours of coverage; CNBC doing 46; USA Network offering 40.5 hours of men’s and women’s hockey and curling, most of which will air live between 7-9:30 AM starting on Saturday; and the Olympic Channel, which will complement NBCU’s coverage with 24/7 programming of the Games from February 10-24.
In a first for NBC, the network will stream Friday’s Opening Ceremony at NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. There won’t be any commentators on that feed, with the event’s natural providing the backdrop.
And for those who prefer to watch their skeleton and moguls online, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC app will offer more than 1,800 (!) hours of coverage, including livestreams of NBC’s primetime telecasts. Using browsers Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge, the website also will feature video coverage and highlights along with three digital-only programs: Gold Zone, , a condensed review of the recently concluded competition day that streams daily from noon-2 PM ET; Olympic Ice, post-competition review of figure skating news and highlights taking place all 11 days of figure skating competition; and Off the Post, a live hockey studio show following each day’s final game that will provide a full review of the men’s and women’s tournaments with highlights, interviews, analysis, previews and more.
Said app will have livestreamed and on-demand coverage of all competition across all 15 sports and 102 medal events. After an initial 30-minute grace period, consumers of NBCU’s online content will need to provide their cable, satellite or telco logins to continue accessing it.
Hulu Live TV users can tailor-make their Olympic viewing. Subscribers can pick which sports they are most interested in — or curious about — and Hulu will customize the interface based on that. The streamer will give access to all of the network’s coverage but will put up top the sports requested by each user.
Comcast’s Xfinity customers also can get a wide variety of Olympics coverage. It will offer an “instant on-demand” option for live coverage, meaning a user can pop in anytime and then restart that broadcast from the beginning — no DVR required. Xfinity also will offer 50 “virtual channels,” which highlight the best moments of each day, trending athletes and more. Customers can watch all videos included in a playlist or browse and select only the videos they would like to watch.
“Our goal is to raise the bar for the modern-day Olympics viewing experience across platforms and experiment with new features and functionality that will surprise and delight our customers in exciting new ways,” said Matt Strauss, EVP of Xfinity Services.
NBC also is offering a daily Olympics podcast called The Podium and will present 50-plus hours of coverage in the virtual reality format.
Starting at 10 AM ET Friday, DirecTV will offer select Olympics coverage from NBCUniversal on Channel 106. The satcaster will offer next-day access to the Opening Ceremony along with figure skating, hockey, speed skating, ski jumping and snowboarding. Also, starting Thursday and running through the Games, DirecTV and U-verse can watch a live four-screens-in-one mix channel that features NBC and its cable sibs. The mix channels — 205 and 600 on DirecTV and 94, 1094, 637 and 1637 on U-verse — also offer access to onscreen interactive apps for simultaneous viewing of NBCUniversal’s events by date and sport, real-time medal counts, athlete bios, Olympic news and more. The channels aren’t available on all pricing tiers.
On the social media side of things, NBC will be streaming clips from the Games across all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. NBC Olympics also teamed with Snap Inc. to bring first-ever live event coverage to Snapchat.
With the launch of Snapchat’s new “Live” feature, NBC Olympics will live stream a top moment each day on its Discover page to stateside Snapchatters starting this Saturday, February 10. This will mark the first time that NBC Olympics has ever distributed live Olympic programming off of its own platforms.
“Building off our successful partnership for the Rio Olympics, we’re excited to significantly expand the NBC Olympic experience on Snapchat by delivering even more content and coverage to the platform, including a live look-in on one of the most compelling moments each day during the Games,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “Snapchat’s broad reach and young media savvy users will again present an excellent opportunity to engage this important segment of the American audience with great Olympic storytelling, custom built for this media hungry audience.”
In addition the “Live” feature, NBC Olympics will debut its first-ever original shows for Snapchat including Pipe Dreams, a four-part series profiling three Olympic snowboarding hopefuls, as well as Chasing Gold, a 17-episode series on the journeys of Team USA athletes as they compete for gold. The first episode of Pipe Dreams is available now.
So if you’re glued to your social media accounts 24/7 you’ll have non-stop coverage of the Olympic Games on your computer or your mobile device.
Dino-Ray Ramos and Dawn C. Chmielewski contributed to this report.
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